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Recommendations To Reinforce Security When Operating An Armored Vehicle - How to get the most out of an armored vehicle

Armored or not, your car is the best protection against criminals but also represents, ironically, where you can be most vulnerable.

The perfect circumstance for crime is:

  • A car.
  • Stationary. 
  • With at least one person inside (or beside the car and carrying the keys).

This is precisely what criminals look for to be able to go ahead with an assault, auto theft, abduction, and even homicide.

If we are able to use an armored vehicle properly, we shall be able to reverse risk and use it as our best weapon to evade danger and problems, get out of the risk situation and get to a safe place, protect ourselves from aggression, or even use them to make way, ram or tow other vehicles.

Therefore, it is important to heed the following recommendations:

  1. Try to get in and out of your vehicle in enclosed spaces such as a car garage. If this is not possible, try to do this as close as possible to the door you are leaving from or headed to. If you are on the street, look carefully around before reaching your car and make sure there are no peculiar or suspicious-looking persons around. Once you are very close to your vehicle, use your car remote to open the door lock, which should be already open by the time you get to it. Open the door and get in the car. 
  2. Once you are in the car, put the locks back on, fasten your seatbelt, and start the car. Avoid staying inside your car when stationary (engaged in conversation, talking on mobile devices, listening to music, waiting for someone else, etc.).
  3. Do not stop. Criminals know that getting you requires that the car be not in motion. If they tell you to stop, throw something at you, give you a slight bump, tell you that you have a flat tire or block the road, do not stop, let alone get out of your vehicle or lower the windows. Continue driving until reaching a safe place of your choosing.
  4. If you see anything strange or suspicious, try to get away before someone approaches or threatens you. When in a non-armored vehicle, you can act and evade until someone takes out a gun (time to surrender). In an armored vehicle, you can evade even after being threatened. The object is always getting out of the dangerous situation and away from risk, even if this means climbing up a curb, getting on the sidewalk, skipping across a road median, removing an obstacle, or even crashing and ramming another vehicle set across to ambush you.
  5. Use your additional implements. If your vehicle is equipped with a siren, lights, pepper spray, etc., use them to scare off attackers while evading.
  6. Always keep a safe distance from the car in front of you, even when in a row and at traffic lights. This will allow you to get out of a problematic situation should it arise. To know how to measure the safe distance you are to keep from the vehicle ahead, you should be able to see its tires at all times.
  7. Do not put visible items on the car seats. Street vendors, squeegee men, and other pedestrians are on the lookout for victims who travel with their handbags, laptops, mobile devices, etc. in visible places. Put such items and belongings in the trunk, glove box, or under the passenger seat.
  8. Do not lower your window. If someone wants to say or ask something, do not fall for it. Always consider that it may be a hoax or distractor to get you.
  9. Remember that risks increase at the moment of ingress and egress, and you need to be more on the alert at such times. If upon reaching your destination you see something suspicious it is preferable to drive around the block or ask a police patrol to identify the suspects. Do not stop, do not get out the car, and do not enter the place you were headed to if you are not sure that the environment is safe.
  10. Know the dynamics of your vehicle. Armored vehicles have a different dynamics for braking, cornering, power, suspension, etc.
  11. If someone else drives your car for you (a chauffeur), make sure that person knows these recommendations and verify periodically that they drive the vehicle as per these provisions.

Pablo Carstens M., Ph.D., CPP
Crisis Management & Risk Control Institute.

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Recommendations To Reinforce Security When Operating An Armored Vehicle